Choate’s 6106A Robot Victorious

While many Choate students were watching Netflix over spring break, the Choate Robotics Team was competing in a crucial qualifying tournament for the World Championships. During the March 5-6, Choate Robotics Team 6106A, 6106B, 6106C, and 6106D participated in the VEX Southern New England Regional Tournament located in Worcester, Mass.

Out of the 75 total robots at the tournament, Choate’s 6106A robot managed to snag the gold, and the Choate Robotics team is now heading to the VEX World Championships in Louisville, Kentucky, from April 20-23.

The other robots Choate crafted for the tournament also did well. 6106B and 6106D were semifinalists, and both missed qualifying for the World Championship by one point. Co-coach for the Robotics Team Mr. Kyle Di Tieri stated, “It was saddening to see them loose by one point, but there’s a bit of luck that happens at these things, and they were just dealt bad cards.”

During the Southern New England tournament, each robot was randomly paired with another robot in an alliance to compete against other alliances. Alliances aimed to fire an object about ten or thirteen feet across a field into a net in a competition aptly named, “Nothing But Net.” Afterward, if time permitted, robots levitated their partner robot for extra points.

This challenge was not nearly as simple as it may sound. According to the leader of 6106A, Katrina Gonzalez ’17, “There are a lot of inconsistencies and mechanical issues that needed to be fixed throughout the season.” For example, 202B had motor issues in the middle of the tournament from colliding into other robots repeatedly.

Some of those mechanical issues occurred during the tournament itself, and one such issue led to the downfall of the 202C robot. After a fantastic first day of competition, 6106C’s robot was accidentally dropped, and it plummeted to its death. The aluminum frame of the robot morphed, changing the angle detrimentally. As Mr. Di Tieri explained, “If you change an angle by even half a degree, your shot from ten feet away is completely off the park.” Though the team tried to fix the problem, they were unable to salvage the robot, and 202C’s ranking dropped 10-15 places in the tournament.

Despite the woes of 6106C, Robotics captain Adham Meguid ’16 expressed his pride for all of the students, “I’m very proud of the whole team, not just A, because we are still one team—just with four different robots. Everyone has put in a lot of time and effort. They’ve been working really hard, and I’m happy that they get to have this amazing opportunity.”

Mr. Di Tieri also emphasized the importance of maintaining comradery. “When one team does well, everyone does well in my mind,” he commented. “The one thing that I knew was going to come up is that we’re different squads, and so it’s hard to remember we’re still all the same team. However, we’re all here at Choate. We’re all Choate’s robotics team. That’s what we should continue to be and always remind ourselves of that.”

Meguid added, “My biggest thing I always tell every team before they go on to a match is ‘Good luck and have fun,’ and I think having fun is one of the most important parts of being in Robotics.”

In the spirit of comradery, the Robotics team plans to select 11 people from the whole team, not just 6106A, to represent the school in the VEX World Championships. Interested members have to fill out a form, and Meguid, Mr. Di Tieri, and Co-coach Mr. Murgio met to decide whom should go.

Co-coach Mr. Murgio remarked, “We hope to have a good showing at Worlds. We don’t expect to win it, but we hope to do as well as we possibly can. In the future, I hope to continue to build on the success this year and have even more robots qualify.”

As Gonzalez noted, “You start at ground zero, and more you put into it, the more you get out of it. That’s really satisfying, and that’s why I think Robotics is one of the best teams at Choate.”

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